A Medieval Dragon Prayer Book! Critical Linking, October 9, 2019

Critical Linking, a daily roundup of the most interesting bookish links from around the web is sponsored by Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life, available now from Timber Press.

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“Erika Boeckeler was going to need three years—with help from a lot of students—to fully comprehend what she was holding in her hands. And yet she knew, the moment she was greeted by the brightly-drawn dragon roaring on its opening page, that she had found a book of historical significance.

The Dragon Prayer Book, as Boeckeler’s students would refer to it, is a medieval manuscript that had been neglected for years on a back shelf of Snell Library. Northeastern has been unable to determine when it obtained the book or how much was paid for it. All that exists in the files is a black-and-white photograph that shows someone reading the book in 1976.”

They had me at Dragon Prayer Book, but this really is an interesting look at solving the mystery of an unknown book found in a library.


“Sean McDonald at MCD has acquired Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland, a genre-bending work of gothic fiction that wrestles with the tangled history of racism in America and the marginalization of society’s undesirables, about a Black woman with albinism, the mother of infant twins, who is hunted after escaping a religious compound, then discovers that her body is metamorphosing and that she is developing extra-sensory powers. The deal was negotiated by Seth Fishman at The Gernert Company (World).”

This sounds amazing.


“Sonny Bono—who was not only half of Sonny and Cher but also the mayor of Palm Springs, California from 1988 to 1992 and a California congressman—is one person who is responsible The Great Gatsby’s public domain delay. In 1998, Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which extends the Copyright Act of 1976. The latter established that works like The Great Gatsby would become public domain 75 years after the date of publication. But the 1998 act extended the publication date for certain works—namely: those published with a copyright notice and with copyright renewed—20 more years, giving The Great Gatsby a total of 95 years copyright protection. (The bill was named for Bono when the law passed the House of Representatives shortly after his death in 1998.) That means that The Great Gatsby—and many other books—won’t enter the public domain until long after publication; in this case January 1, 2021.”

The more you know.